The Proof Is In The Paranormal Pudding

When it comes to the subject of the supernatural I consider myself an open-minded skeptic.  I’m not close minded to the point that I deny the idea that ghosts,  and hauntings can occur, I just believe that they are a lot more rare then people think.  Especially with cable television (almost every network has either an original paranormal ‘investigation’ series or runs a syndicated one) along with internet you’d think that every block or country mile is a haunted  house or former Indian burial ground.  I find it rather ridiculous too as to how readily some ‘investigators’ are to declare something as being a ‘haunt’ based on their own impressions or lack of comprehension on how thermal imaging really works or why temperatures can fluctuate.

Earlier today I watched a documentary on the History Channel about a group of investigators (Monster Quest) that investigated the supposed hauntings of the Lizzy Borden house.  The fact that it was the house where Lizzy supposedly (she was acquitted) murdered her parents with a hatchet makes it seem like fertile ground for the paranormal.  But rather then get caught up in the hype and give into the lust for ratings, the show actually applied a scientific approach to the investigation.  They didn’t bring in some goofy psychic or burned out priest who could either ‘feel the dead’ or ‘banish demons’.  They used technology and expertise of trained objective personnel to analyze any evidence obtained via video or audio.  In the end there was no dramatic sightings or anyone claiming to have felt ‘something grab their leg’.  Instead they had one piece of EVP that was dismissed as static/interference and another that was determined to be a voice of some sort due to the pitch of it as sound waves it produced upon being analyzed.  At the end of the show the whispered voice that showed up on both the video camera’s footage and a digital recorder’s mp3 was never determined to be a ghost or a person in the room.  It was left as something that couldn’t be explained. There was also a thermal image of chest that read as being cold on the top and sides yet the bottom was nearly red hot according to the thermal image.  Yet when inspected, the bottom of the chest was not hot to the touch.  Again, the expert deemed it as being something he couldn’t explain.  Another group of investigators had been at the Borden house prior to Monster Quest, and had footage of their camera supposedly moving on its own.  What I found interesting is when the Monster Quest investigators set up a similar situation in the same room, nothing happened.

Now does that mean that the Lizzy Borden house is haunted beyond the shadow of a doubt?  Hell no.  What it means to me is that there’s a possibility that something bizarre is occurring there.  And that’s far more exciting then some bleach blonde psychic telling me in a thick Long Island accent that she ‘feels an evil presence’.  But seeing and hearing odd events just one time doesn’t prove it was a paranormal event or a haunted location.  I think that further investigations would have to be done in order to see if they could find the same or similar evidence at the Borden house.  Eliminate the probability that they could be finding false positives during their investigations.

Out of all the paranormal investigator’s bag of tricks, I have the biggest issue with EVP.  Long story short it’s supposed recordings of voices of ghosts caught on either a digital or analog recorder.  The most interesting thing is that a ghost’s voice is rarely heard during the recording, and is only detected once someone’s analyzed all the audio/video recordings from the investigation.  I’m not clear as to why it would appear in  a recording but the people can’t hear it at the time.  But my main issue comes from the fact that a lot of times a investigator will supposedly hear something on the tape, and immediately turn to his buddy and say something to the effect, “Hey, listen to this.  Don’t it sound like ‘Help!’ ”  Or something to that effect.  And of course once his buddy hears it, yep he agrees that it sounds like ‘Help!’  I’d find it more convincing if no one said what they thought it was until everyone heard it.  Maybe wrote down their impression first.  Once you start saying what you think it is, it can easily influence someone else.  Just like when you were a kid and looking at the clouds, you think something looks like a horse, and when you mention it to your friend they agree.  Its the power of suggestion that really corrupts EVP, in my opinion.

I am not against the idea of the paranormal existing.  What I am against is the fact that a lot of these crap shows like Ghost Hunters on SyFy, or Finding Bigfoot on Animal Planet, and other networks have exploited the idea.  Instead of honest scientific exploration of it, we get rejects from the local carnival trying to make a quick buck off it.

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